Monday, May 16

The European Commission takes Spain to court for improperly treating its wastewater

The European Commission returns to take to Spain before the Court of Justice by the deficient treatment of the residual waters. Brussels considers that, despite the progress, a hundred “urban agglomerations” still do not properly treat the water after using it.

40% of the waters on which Spain depends are in poor condition

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After the first notice in 2016 and an ultimatum in February 2020 to comply with the regulations for environmental protection, the Commission has decided to denounce Spain. “It must redouble its efforts to ensure that the wastewater collected receives sufficient treatment to reach the relevant levels in the matter,” he explained this Wednesday. This forces to put money because “there are agglomerations where infrastructures must be built or improved.”

The point is that these used waters can carry viruses or bacteria that pose a danger to people’s health as well as a risk of contamination for lakes, rivers, soils and aquifers. They also contain nutrients, waste from livestock and agriculture, “capable of damaging freshwater and the marine environment by favoring the excessive proliferation of algae that suffocates other forms of life, a process called eutrophication,” describes Brussels.

Spain’s problem with water treatment is a recurring headache that, in addition, is leading to the payment of a periodic fine. In 2018, European magistrates already ruled against Spain for similar reasons. The ruling included the payment of a fine of 12 million euros plus another 11 million extra each semester that the problem remained. The money payable decreases as defaults are resolved.

In addition, last December, the Commission denounced Spain before the court for the contamination of water derived from waste from agriculture and livestock. In this case, a “poor” response was pointed to when nitrates were discharged into the environment, ending up in both surface water and groundwater. This nitrate comes from livestock manure, especially intensive pig farming, and from irrigation for its fertilizers. Brussels made ugly that there had been wake-up calls “for three years”.